10 Tips for Sourdough Beginners

Tips for getting better results while working with sourdough

  1. Dealing with sourdough bread when only 4 ingredients are used, make sure you are using the best flour you can get. Flour is everything! One brand of flour can handle wet dough, while the other can fail completely. Adjust your recipe to the flour you use.
  2. Sieve your flour! When the flour is oxygenated, it allows for better gluten development and the gluten can trap more air in the loaf. In the sifted loaf 10-15% more volume
  3. Don’t be greedy with add ins, add 20% from the weight of bread
  4. Happy starter better baking. Keeping your starter is not a difficult thing, observe how much time your starter rises and when it falls and build your own schedule for feeding it. Active bubble starter will definitely produce a better loaf
  5. You control the dough not around. It is important to understand that even the best recipe is only the direction and your ingredients, skills and environment can bring the best results
  6. No steam, bad oven spring and as a result flat loaf.
  7. If you have a regular home oven, heating it well is very important. I heat my oven around 1 hour before placing the loaf, but will try to keep it heated it even more
  8. Underproofed or overproofed loaf is a matter of time. Catching the dough at its best time to be baked is the skill which will come with some experience.
  9. Use a scale for achieving consistency
  10. If you have just started baking, don’t compare your loaves to any Instagram glorious loaves! Don’t torture yourself why your first loaf was too dense or too flat, it is a matter of experience and patience. Being patience and persistent will be rewarded sooner or later

Essential equipment for baking a sourdough loaf

    • A glass jar for keeping your starter
    • Scale
    • Lodge Combo Cooker is what I personally use. Deciding between a Dutch oven and an iron cast my choice fell on the second one because of the price and it works absolutely fine .

    • Bench knife for cutting and lifting dough

  • Bread basket for proofing is not a must but the whole process will be much easier if you have it
  • Bulk container with clear sides to observe the rise of dough
  • A big bowl for mixing dough
  • Lame for scoring your bread (I use simple razor for scoring. You can make your own lame a pack of razors and a coffee stirrer)

Kategoriler: Hamur İşi Tarifleri Tags: , , , , ,
Who is Afraid of Sourdough

My interest in sourdough bread started to grow with each fascinating picture I saw on Instagram and the more I was seeing all this beauty the more I wanted to try to work with sourdough. The tiniest problem was that I had no idea about sourdough and the idea of making my own starter was a bit scary. So, let me share my own experience the way it all worked for me, what moments were discouraging and how I managed to overcome them. So, if you decide to embark on sourdough journey you will need to create your own starter. Creating your own starter is not a hard task, it only requires patience and observation. What I personally was struggling with was the feeling if my starter was good, if I managed to get needed wild yeast so I was smelling it and checking the pictures and was trying to understand if It was good (Understanding your own starter at the beginning might be a challenge so it is good to have someone experienced who is willing to help). My starter is based on white flour and the recipe I followed was from the book Classic Sourdoughs by Ed Wood and Jean Wood. The tutorial is quite easy to follow: mix 1 cup of organic white flour with 1 cup of warm water from a bottle, in a glass jar (why from bottle? because tap water can be harmful for bacteria which will inhabit your culture) Stir the mixture well and leave it in a warm place if there are insects I cover my jar with a kitchen towel. In two/ three days first bubbles will appear which will be a sign of success. At this point the starter must be fed, and this is the formula I was following 1:1:1 which means the same amount of ingredients should be used (like 50 gr of starter, 50 gr of water and 50 gr of flour) This feeding must be performed at 12-to 24-hour intervals during several days until the starter is bubbly and active enough. So how can you understand if the starter is ready? On the 6th day the starter will become predictable after feeding it will rise within 6-8 hours and will fall, and when this cycle of rise and fall is established, the starter is bubbly and smells good, it is ready to be used.

One more trick which helps to understand if a starter is ready is throwing a small amount of it into water and if it floats that’s an indicator it is good to be used.
So now a bit more about baking my first loaf which was the funniest baking experience. So, the recipe was from the same book I used for creating my starter. The recipe was super simple which said: pour the starter into a bowl, add water and salt mix it will. Add flour and kneed it. Proof the dough overnight at 21C, let the dough rest for 30 mins, afterwards shape it and bake it. My first sourdough was so sticky that I could hardly handle it. It felt weird to deal with this type of dough. At that moment, I didn’t do enough reading and had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I shaped that sticky dough and decided to bake it even though I had the feeling that I failed. To my biggest surprise the bread wasn’t bad at all. The crumb was soft and full of aroma. That first loaf marked my sourdough journey and that I won’t come back to using commercial yeast. This was my first loaf, a super weird one but edible and I was grateful for it!

After gaining my first experience I got encouraged to learn more about sourdough bread. My second book which has been a very valuable source of information -Chad Robertson Tartine Bread, where the pictures and detailed information help a lot understand the nature of creating bread. Using this book, I baked many tasty loaves but unfortunately majority of them were flat and the more I tried, the worse bread I got. I must confess I was quite annoyed because I couldn’t point the problem: if my hands were bad at shaping the loaf or my starter wasn’t active or the oven. (As I understand the problem was I didn’t heat my oven enough, and the lack of steam and some mistakes at shaping were all the reasons of my flat loaves) The situation got so much better when I decided to invest some money into Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker 3.2 Quart and that was the moment when better bread has started appearing.

Since that time my baking experience has been getting better, the loaves are prettier but still there is so so much work to do, so many things to experiment with and the most important things is gaining consistency during multiple baking.

Having 6 months of experience (what a newbie I am) I can say that sourdough is a bit of magic, all details matter there. Using four basic ingredients such as flour, water, salt and time can create a unity of flavor that eating a regular bread from a shop will be a dull experience. The whole process of baking your own bread is soul satisfying, it is the connection with the past where the things were made without a hurry where quality prevailed quantity and each product was uniquely shaped with the energy of artisan.

The second reason is that sourdough bread has so many health benefits like more minerals and vitamins easier to be digested, free of preservatives and flavor additives.

The third thing you have your own yeast (you save money!) and whenever you want to bake, it is waiting in the jar to help you make the best bread.

Kategoriler: Hamur İşi Tarifleri Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Sourdough Chocolate Babka

My searches for “ideal” babka recipes got accelerated when I embarked on my sourdough journey. I baked it many times experimenting with some techniques which resulted in different types of crumbs. The base of my recipe was challah bread from the book “Classic Sourdoughs” by Ed Wood and Jean Wood. I experimented with the amount of sugar, butter, and flour mix and now I am ready to share the result. There are three variants of filling, choose the one which appeals you the most or create your own.

200  gr active starter
50 gr honey
150 gr warm milk
100 gr soft unsalted butter
100 gr brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
400 gr white flour
100 gr whole wheat flour
Filling I
8 -10 tbsp of nutella
20 gr pistachio helva
Filling II
100 gr soft butter
50 gr cocoa
50 gr brown sugar
50 gr walnuts
Filling III
Toblerone bar or any chocolate you like broken into pieces
1 beaten egg for brushing the bread

Before preparing the dough make sure that all of your ingredients are room temperature.
Pour milk and honey in a bowl and mix well. Add sugar, then stir in the eggs. Add the starter to the bowl and mix well. Start adding the flour a cup at a time until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand. Turn out onto a floured board and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and satiny. (the amount of flour might differ as the flours might absorb liquids differently, add flour gradually! and see what amount fits your dough better) Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it for two hours. Mix the butter with the salt and incorporate it into the dough one spoon at a time.
Proof the dough at room temperature (mine gets ready around 5 or 6 hours) until the dough doubles in size. Place the dough on the floured surface and with the help of hands pull it in the shape of rectangle. (You can divide the dough into two and get two small babkas or have one huge one)
Place the filling over the dough and roll it. Cut it into two pieces and twist them as in the picture. Place babkas in the bread tins Cover with a towel and leave it to rise (it takes around 2 hours when the temperature is more than 21C ). Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle some brown sugar over it. Bake in the preheated oven 375F (190C) around 45 mins or until it is ready depends on your oven.

Kategoriler: Hamur İşi Tarifleri Tags: , , , , , ,
Five Sourdough Journeys

Baking sourdough bread is one of the most fascinating activities during which flour, water and salt are transformed into the most delicious bread and instagram plays a role of a connector, which gives a chance to observe a daily journey of sourdough bakers all round the world. Read 5 short stories of 5 sourdough bakers from Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Slovenia and Portugal. 


Katrya @seldonenko (Ukraine)

How long have you been a sourdough baker and what lead you to become one?

  • I have been baking sourdough for 9 years. When I was young I wanted to learn English, become a vegetarian and bake bread and Easter sweet bread like my granny and like my mother’s  Polish friends Bronislava.

Are there many artisan bakeries in your country?

  • Unfortunately in Ukraine the traditition of sourdough bread has been forgotten. I dont know any real artisan bakeries in my region . There are possibly some in other regions

Can you name bakers who were your inspiration to start baking sourdough bread?

  • Oh yes, certainly I had an inspiration in the very beginning: it was Lyuda -LJ blogger from Toronto, her user’s name – marianna_aga. She is an absolutely stunning person.

What tips would you give to a person who has just started to bake sourdough bread?

  • It is difficult to advise something. I might give just one tip: never give up baking! Despite mistakes and failures you should continue following your dream. Make you baking hobby-your obsession. Be passionate  about bread all the time.

What is the most common mistake while baking sourdough bread and how can it be avoided?

  • It is impossible to avoid mistakes. There aren’t any teachers or clever books in the world which could protect you. On the contrary don’t afraid to make a mistake. Negative experience is good. You’ll know bad ways to find the best one.


Özlem @tatliatolyem (Turkey)

How long have you been a sourdough baker and what lead you to become one?

  • I have been baking sourdough bread almost for two years. I call this interest as a real bread journey. I started this journey to eat real bread and to make people taste it.

Are there many artisan bakeries in your country?

  • I learned sourdough with my online researches. At the beginning I was using different recipes from the internet, then I met Cafe Fernando, after that I started to try different techniques.

Can you name bakers who were your inspiration to start baking sourdough bread?

  • There is no name which i am inspired especially but I am mainly into Rusian rye bread.

What tips would you give to a person who has just started to bake sourdough bread

  • Lots of research and attempts bring exerience. I suggest everyone listen to their dough. I would like to warn people that it becomes an obsession. 🙂

What is the most common mistake while baking sourdough bread and how can it be avoided?

  • Biggest mistake is under-kneaded dough. Beside  skipping cold leaven causes a lack of understanding  the taste variety.


Zosia Barto @zosia_barto (Poland)

How long have you been a sourdough baker and what lead you to become one?

  • Around 7 years ago I baked the first bread in my life. It was a yeasted bread, I’ve baked it because I didn’t have any bread at home and I was hungry Couple days after my first loaf, I baked a sourdough bread and it was a total disaster Luckily for me, I didn’t give up and now I have my own micro bakery. Around two years ago I’ve turned my hobby into my work and I’m still in love with sourdough bread

Are there many artisan bakeries in your country?

  • There is a long tradition of making sourdough rye bread in Poland, several years ago there were lots of artisan bakeries. Not many have left, a majority of them closed because of industrial bakeries. People prefer to buy cheap bread made from frozen dough than paying a little bit more for good quality bread. In Cracov, where I live, we have maybe 6 artisan bakeries.

Can you name bakers who were your inspiration to start baking sourdough bread?

  • Jeffrey Hamelman, Chad Robertson, Monika Walecka

What tips would you give to a person who has just started to bake sourdough bread

  • Don’t give up. Every failure is a lesson. Also, I’d recommend reading some books about sourdough to understand the whole process, that makes everything easier. For example, Bread by Hamelman is a really good one to get the basics.

What is the most common mistake while baking sourdough bread and how can it be avoided?

  • I don’t know what mistakes are most common among other bakers, but when I started my sourdough adventure I made a lot of errors. I have no idea which was the most common, but I think that answer is simple: observe your dough and make notes – it really helps.


Anita Sumer @sourdough_mania (Slovenia)

How long have you been a sourdough baker and what lead you to become one?

  • I’ve been baking exclusively with sourdough for .5 years. My husband had a gall bladder removal and wasn’t able to eat normal yeasted bread. Then I started to search for other options to bake homemade bread and came across sourdough and later wild yeast. Before sourdough, I haven’t baked bread at home, so this was my first venture into the bread baking world.

Are there many artisan bakeries in your country?

  • There aren’t that many, mostly fast commercial ones that don’t pay too much detail to the ingredients they use. A lot of bakeries are owned by Albanian people that produce a low quality fluffy white bread. Many stores also have their own prebaked programme. But artisan bakeries are very rare. I know only about 2 in our capital, Ljubljana, namely Art bread and Osem.

Can you name bakers who were your inspiration to start baking sourdough bread?

  • As many sourdough bakers, I bought Tartine book from Chad Robertson J soon to realise it won’t work with our weak flour that doesn’t soak up as much water as the American ones do. So I was again on my own, though when I started my sourdough bread quest, I got a lot of help from a Slovenian blogger Natasa Djuric. We shared and helped each other a lot during my earlier stages. Have to admit I miss this cooperation.

What tips would you give to a person who has just started to bake sourdough bread

  • Don’t get terrified by the procedure J take your time and you’ll master it! If your starter is bubbly and active, it will leaven your dough as well. If possible, use organic flour and non-chlorinated water.

What is the most common mistake while baking sourdough bread and how can it be avoided?

  • To quit before you nail it; even if your first loaves turn bricks, don’t give up and keep on baking! My first ones were flat and hard to eat but I didn’t end my sourdough quest. Check online resources, Instagram baking community, blogs for help, tips&tricks, more ideas, and inspiration.


Andreia @andreia.earth (Portugal)

How long have you been a sourdough baker and what lead you to become one?

  • A couple of years ago I was gifted a food science book that had a chapter about bread. Even though there was little information about sourdough, it captivated my attention. By that time, the starter culture I had was neglected and my bread baking skills were definitely not the best. I got back to commercial yeast till October 2016. I’ve been baking sourdough bread for 7 months now but to be clear, I only started to bake proper bread in January. I had bad experiences with overproofed breadThat taught me a lot. Looking back, I’m glad I went trough that frustration! You get important lessons through bad events. Portuguese bakeries used to have pretty good bread but quickly they twisted their working ethics and replaced good wheat flour for the cheapest low quality wheat, reduced their working crew, started to to bake frozen dough…it’s a shame, honestly. I was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel syndrome 7 years ago and this “modern bread” contributed for

    Abdominal pain, discomfort and unsuccessful disease management. Relevant scientific data bases have plenty of articles that confirm that sourdough bread helps to manage such diseases and improves vitamin and mineral bioavailability. Eating sourdough bread doesn’t cause me IBS crisis. Baking sourdough is a passion. It makes me feel extremely happy and soothes me. Microbiology will be forever a passion of mine. Keeping a starter makes me remember the good old days I spent in a lab.

    It’s a passion you feel and see trough people’s eyes. It’s hard to describe in words. I’ll keep baking and eating sourdough my whole life.

Are there many artisan bakeries in your country?

  • Honestly, I think artisan bakeries are scarce in my country. In a world ruled by economic and financial interests, honest business have hard times to strive. It’s cheaper for bakeries to use frozen bread dough, using more salt (to reduce the flour), have a smaller crew, etc.I believe most people forgot how amazing real bread tastes like! How great it is to hang out with a family and friends in the kitchen while the dough is in the oven, how amazing it feels to knead  the dough, smell the dough while it’s fermenting, feel the heat on your face while the bread is in the oven and you get delighted with the amazing transformation! I never found sourdough here and a lot of people don’t know it. Wish the bread business was more honest

Can you name bakers who were your inspiration to start baking sourdough bread?

  • Chad Robertson was the first sourdough baker I stumbled across online. There’s some inspiring, super creative and friendly sourdough bakers on Instagram. Diana (@fxmaman) helped me to bake consistent bakes and she pointed out what I was doing wrong. I have an eternal gratitude for all she has done to me. Anita Šumer (sourdough_mania) is a very creative and kind person. Her videos and tips definitely increased my knowledge. Katrin (@lillianday) is a passionate baker and Marguerite (@yuentien is also very talented. All these ladies were born with a natural talent for baking sourdough. They’re big inspirations and i always get a big smile on my face every time I see their bread.

What tips would you give to a person who has just started to bake sourdough bread

  • When I was completely inexperienced, I felt relieved with the amount of information on blogs, forums, etc. The lack of knowledge I had, made it difficult to understand the information provided by experienced bakers and so, I relied more on timings. Timings don’t matter, watching the dough is what really matters and is the key to success. Keeping a very happy starter is extremely important too. Get to know your culture and give it a lot of love. What I’m going to say is something personal

What is the most common mistake while baking sourdough bread and how can it be avoided?

  • Dear sourdough newbie, it’s normal to fail when you’re learning. Nobody is perfect and the fails can be frustrating but, that’s the only way to learn. Failing will give you knowledge you’ll remember and won’t fail again. Practice, have faith and find kind friends to help you in that process. Love what you bake no matter what and feel proud of yourself.
Kategoriler: Hayat Stili Tags: , , , , ,